Professor, McKelvey School of Engineering (ESE & CSE)
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Neal Patwari is interested in how systemic oppression is a feedback system, and how sensing and automated decision systems operate as part of such a system. Sensors themselves can embed racial bias in ways that are predicted by measurement theory; for example, how light sensors used in pulse oximeters result in significant errors for people with dark skin at low oxygenation levels. He is interested in engineering design for equity, that is, tools for developing systems that promote, rather than work against, equity. “AI fairness” is often insufficient to achieve equity or justice. Applying dynamical systems theory, we can show how feedback mechanisms can maintain inequity despite the “fairness” of particular components.